LFL Gallery
New York
531 W. 26th St.
2126317720 FAX 2126317720
Two exhibitions
dal 8/10/2004 al 6/11/2004
2126317700 FAX 2126317720
Segnalato da

LFL Gallery


Justin Lieberman
Rob Thom

calendario eventi  :: 


Two exhibitions

LFL Gallery, New York

Justin Lieberman, 'Folk Art is the Work of Satisfied Slaves' and Rob Thom: for this show, Thom will present a series of new paintings and drawings. Rob Thom's most recent paintings are over-populated theme park worlds inspired by Bruegel, as well as the luminous surfaces of stained glass church windows.

comunicato stampa

"Folk Art is the Work of Satisfied Slaves"

Interview with the Artist

I: Let s begin with the idea of the gag or one-liner. Your work seems to contain references to these in some way.
J: Definitely. I m very interested in the concept of the little idea and its ability to evade essentialism.
I: The specificity of the subjects you choose also has to do with that.
J: Art is the only mode of communication in which ambiguity is considered a virtue. Spoken, written, and visual language like signs or advertising all attempt to maintain clarity as a rapport with the viewer.
I: But art s function is not so clearly defined.
J: For me, the one-liner functions as a stepladder to its own implications, which can be manifold. In the same way that a joke provokes different reactions based on the context in which it is told. Different people s reactions are descriptive of both the joke and themselves.
I: Some of your works seem to exhibit a sort of manic tone, of having been created in a frenzy.
J: Yes, but I feel that it is a sublimated one.
I: There is a tension between the labored, almost amateurish look of the work s execution and the relationship of the subject to its presentation, which is always geared to elicit a very specific response.
J: The way an object is made has a great deal to do with the way in which it is read. I find that objects with a certain mix of attention to detail and denial of traditional craft are read more sympathetically.
I: Are you trying to elicit sympathy from the viewer?
J: Not exactly. I see the crudity of certain objects as being at odds with the things that they are saying. It is a contradiction that can take on different meanings depending on the subject. The evidence of its origin as handmade also provides an entry point into the work. A socialized veneer.
I: And once I have entered the work through this somewhat formal means, the deciphering of intention becomes pleasurable. It s a very different approach than the traditional avant-garde tactic of taking an overtly hostile stance in relation to the viewer.
J: Dada was a movement that took great pleasure in cursing its audience. Cy Twombly is an artist whose early works have become emblematic of that approach in respect to painting. While I certainly identify with both Dada and Twombly, I don t think that that type of work could possibly be as effective today.
I: The use of appropriation in your work contains vestiges of that hostility.
J: Many artists of my generation employ appropriation without making it a central or even peripheral issue in the work, unself-consciously using material (especially cartoons) that they feel close to or grew up with. Most of the time the elements are combined in an intuitive manner rather than a critical one and the combinations are based on information that is usually irrelevant to the work itself. I see this type of work as a form of expressionism because its use of appropriation is related to identity and personal perception. Left in the hands of critics, a connection is inevitably drawn to the collapse of private and public formation of identity. It s a formula for the criticism of this work that has been endlessly repeated. The artist as DJ, sampling bits of visual information and combining them into a kind of cultural bricolage. I can t even remember how many times I ve heard that phrase.
I: How does your own use of appropriation differ?
J: I use appropriated material to point to some sort of idea that is intrinsic in the material itself. Usually something that was hidden is made explicit. For instance, in Dead Kennedy s Coffee Table, the DK logo is used as a symbol of punk politics and radical ideology. Through its transformation into a bourgeois luxury item it depicts the failure of politics and ideology. Similarly, the idea of art is degraded by its transformation into furniture. It becomes merely applied art.
I: All of these psychological games with the viewer seem tied to the performative. For instance, in The Pleasure Principle, I feel as though I myself am being implicated in the work, merely through the act of looking.
J: That piece was meant to make the viewer more keenly aware of the expectations he or she brings to an artwork. There is a long history of this sort of transgression in art, exemplified currently by artists like Larry Clark and Nan Goldin. Artists are expected to live in the gutter and report back on its conditions to a cultured elite. But there s a catch. The artist must maintain a certain amount of distance from this degraded lifestyle, at least in the works themselves, so as not to completely alienate his viewer. By placing myself at the center of a predictable example of bohemian transgression, my aim was to highlight the banality of this exchange.
I: Much of your work seems to deal with failure. Do you see the works themselves as failures?
J: I see art itself as a failed enterprise. Failed in its attempt to communicate or to elevate the human spirit. Transgression once fulfilled this need in art, but now transgression is impossible. All that is left are little games to be played out with art of the past.

Exhibition dates: October 9 November 6, 2004
Opening reception: October 9, 2004 from 6-8pm

Image: Justin Lieberman "Happy Gay Black Man (v. 2)" 22" x 30" watercolor on paper, 2004


Rob Thom

LFL Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Rob Thom. For this show, Thom will present a series of new paintings and drawings. The exhibition will run from October 9th to November 6th, 2004. Rob Thom's most recent paintings are over-populated theme park worlds inspired by Bruegel, as well as the luminous surfaces of stained glass church windows. For each new drawing or canvas, a fresh method and style is applied. Works range from combinations of clumsy abstractions in oil pen and graphite on salvaged pages from found books to tightly-rendered figures created in watercolor or acrylic.

Images are taken from outdated textbooks and held under the artist s own looking-glass to reveal the hyper-articulated actions and psychologies of the figures in question. Nothing is safe - astronauts, patriots, poodles, and even Mother Goose are all shown in a clear, but often bleak or disdainful light. Rob Thom is a recent MFA graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles. Past work has been exhibited at Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles, Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo, and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. This is his first solo exhibition in New York and his first exhibition at LFL Gallery.

Exhibition dates: October 9 November 6, 2004
Opening reception: October 9, 2004 from 6-8pm

LFL Gallery
530 W. 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11-6

I'll Speak, You Sing
dal 24/6/2005 al 15/7/2005

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